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Frequently Asked Questions

If you have questions about your health insurance, FAES has the answers!

Create an account with Trustmark® and MetLife

How do I register for an account with Trustmark®?

Creating an account with Trustmark will enable you to:

  • access your plan information
  • print out a temporary member I.D card and request a new card to be mailed to you
  • view your explanation of benefits (EOBs) every time you visit a provider


Go to Register > Participant > Create Your Account

How do I register for an account with MetLife Dental and Vision?

MetLife MyBenefits account provides you with a personalized, integrated, and secure view of your MetLife delivered benefits. You can take advantage of a number of self-service capabilities as well as a wealth of easy to access information.

Find a doctor

How do I find a doctor?

To find an in-network Aetna provider for the lowest out-of-pocket cost, visit the Aetna Signature Administrators - Doc Find page.

Find lab services

What do I do if I need to access lab services (e.g. blood work, allergy tests, etc.)?

There are 2 in-network labs with our insurance coverage, LabCorp or Quest Diagnostics. Please visit the links below to find a lab near you:

What happens if I want to use another lab services provider?

Services performed at a facility other than Quest Diagnostics and LabCorp will be considered “out-of-network” and will require higher out-of-pocket costs. If you are having lab work done at your physician’s office and your physician is in-network, then the lab work will be treated as in-network.

Find an urgent care facility

How do I know if I should go to a hospital Emergency Room or an urgent care facility?

Recent data in the last few years shows that ERs are seeing 145.6 million patients per year, but about 4.3% are for non-urgent symptoms. Privately insured patients are unnecessarily visiting the ER 18 million times each year, adding $32 billion per year to national health care costs. It’s important to know your options ahead of time so you can make the right decision when you need to. If possible, we encourage members to utilize urgent care centers since they will save time and money. There are many locations and they often are open late and on weekends.

How can I find an urgent care facility near me?

Finding an in-network urgent care facility near you is easy: just visit the AETNA-Doc Find page.

Generic vs. brand-name drugs

What’s the difference between brand-name and generic drugs?

Generics work the same as brand-name drugs but cost much less.

How much can I save by switching to generic drugs?

The average cost of brand name drugs is 18.6 times higher than the generic equivalent. Generic drugs range from 80% - 85% lower in cost when compared to the brand product. From 2009-2019, the US healthcare system saved almost $2 trillion as a result of generic utilization. Please consult your doctor to determine if you might be able to utilize a generic drug versus a brand-name drug.

Insurance Plan Questions

Who is my insurance company?

Plan participants should tell medical providers the insurance is through Trustmark. Trustmark manages the confirmation of benefits, eligibility, and processing of claims. The Trustmark insurance plan uses the Aetna Signature Administrators network of providers. Please do not tell providers you have Aetna insurance as this will result in providers not being able to verify your benefits.

Is health insurance required for all Postdoctoral IRTA/CRTA and VF trainees?

Excerpt from the NIH IRTA Policy:

All trainees must have adequate health insurance coverage to receive training in NIH facilities. This requirement may be satisfied by a policy held either in the Trainee's name or in another's name with the Trainee identified as a family member. Verification of health insurance enrollment is required. (

What should I do if I lose insurance coverage from a non-FAES plan and need to enroll in the FAES insurance plan?

Loss of coverage is a qualifying event to enroll in FAES Insurance. You must enroll in the FAES insurance plan within 30 days from the loss of coverage date. If you experience a qualifying event to enroll in, or change coverage, FAES must receive the following within 30 days of the date of your qualifying event.

  • For Enrollment after Loss of Insurance Coverage:
    • FAES Election Form
    • Fellowship Activation Forms (pages 1, 2, and 3) 
      • The "Effective Date of Change" on page 2 should be the day after the loss of coverage date
      • Pages 1 and 3 of the Fellowship Activation Forms must be signed by the fellow
      • Page 1 must also be signed by the PI or Fellowship Sponsor  
    •  Proof of loss of coverage (letter from the non-FAES insurance stating coverage, name of insured, and coverage termination date)
    • If you are also enrolling a spouse and/or dependents, FAES must also receive:
      • Marriage Certificate for spouse and/or Birth Certificates for all child dependents (in English)
        • If dependents do not have a social security number, FAES will need a copy of their passports with the stamped date of arrival in U.S. or I-94 form (dependents must be in the U.S.)
  • For Enrollment of a Spouse or Dependent following Loss of Insurance Coverage:
    • FAES Change Form
    • Marriage Certificate for spouse and/or Birth Certificate for all dependent children (in English)
    • If enrollment of a spouse or dependents will change your insurance coverage from an individual to family coverage, you must also provide FAES with updated Fellowship Activation Forms.
      • The "Effective Date of Change" on page 2 should be the day after the loss of coverage date
      • Pages 1 and 3 of the Fellowship Activation Forms must be signed by the fellow
      • Page 1 must also be signed by the PI or Fellowship Sponsor  
    • Proof of Loss of Coverage (letter from your spouse or dependents' insurance plan stating the coverage, names of insured, and coverage termination date) 
We will be having a baby soon, what do I need to do to add my newborn to the health insurance plan?

If you have a qualifying event to change coverage, we will need the following within 30 days of the qualifying event date:

  • Newborn:
    • FAES Change Form
    •  Proof of live birth letter or discharge paperwork stating the date of birth of the child
      • Birth Certificate and Social Security Number can be provided later since they may take over 30 days to obtain.
    • If this changes the fellow’s coverage from individual to family coverage, we need update fellowship activation forms.
      • Fellowship activation forms: page 1, 2 and 3
        • The effective date of change should be the date of birth of newborn on page 2
        • Page 1 and 3 signed by fellow
        • Page 1 signed by PI/fellowship sponsor
I am getting married, what do I need to do to add my spouse to my health insurance plan?

If you have a qualifying event to change coverage, we will need the following within 30 days of the qualifying event date:

  • Marriage:
    • FAES Change Form
    • Marriage Certificate
    • If this changes the fellow’s coverage from individual to family coverage, we need update fellowship activation forms.
      • Fellowship activation forms: page 1, 2 and 3
        • The effective date of the change should be the date of the marriage on page 2
        • Page 1 and 3 signed by fellow
I just arrived at the NIH as a trainee, what do I need to do to enroll in health insurance?

New Hire Enrollments:  We will need the following within 30 days of the new hire date.

  • FAES Election Form
  • Fellowship activation forms: page 1, 2 and 3
    • Level of coverage selected on page 2
    • Page 1 and 3 signed by fellow
    • Page 1 signed by PI/fellowship sponsor
  • If they are enrolling dependents (spouse or children)
    • Proof of relationship: marriage certificate for spouse and birth certificate for children
      • If the dependents do not have a social security number, we will need:
        • Copy of their passport with stamped date of arrival (dependents must be in US)
How much of the monthly premium do I have to pay?

Your institute covers the monthly premium to FAES, this premium is not deducted from your stipend.

How do I submit a medical claim for reimbursement to Trustmark?

Please fill out a Trustmark Health Claim Form. The form has instructions on how to complete.

What do I do if my medical claim is denied, and I want to appeal the decision?

For information on a denied claim, you can contact Trustmark Customer Service, 888-270-2044. The FAES Insurance team is available to assist you with navigating the claims and appeals process.
Information on appeals can be found in the paperwork with your explanation of benefits (EOB) from Trustmark. Complete, detach, copy and send in the form provided on your EOB within one hundred eighty (180) calendar days from receipt of notification of the denial. Include the reasons you feel the claim should not have been denied along with any additional information and comments relevant to the claim. You are entitled to receive, upon request and free of charge, copies of all documents relevant to the denial. You will be notified of the decision within a reasonable period of time not later than 60 days after the plan receives your request for review.

Please see the Insurance Claims and Verification Info Sheet for more information. 

What do I do if I receive a medical bill from a provider?

For in-network providers:

  1. Review the bill and check if it notes any payment from the insurance carrier, Trustmark.
  2. If the bill does not contain insurance payment information, please contact the provider’s office and inform them of your insurance information located on the front of your ID card.
  3. Request your provider to submit the claim for processing to Trustmark.
  4. If you encounter issues or have questions during this process, please contact the FAES Insurance Department for additional assistance.

For out-of-network providers:

In most circumstances, out-of-network providers will not submit a claim on your behalf.

  1. Complete a Trustmark Health Claim Form with proof of payment and documentation.
  2. Submit the Form with supporting documents to Trustmark for processing via one of the following methods:
    • EMAIL:
    • PORTAL:
      • Sign into your account
      • Click on the link for “Messages”
      • Select “General Inquiry”
      • In the Subject line type “OON Claim Submission”
      • Attach claim/itemized statement/proof of payment
    • MAIL TO:
      • Trustmark Health Benefits
        PO Box 2920
        Clinton, IA 52733-2920
  3. If you encounter issues or have questions during this process, please contact the FAES Insurance Department for additional assistance.
What do I do if I need to submit a prescription claim?

Please complete an Express Scripts (ESI) Claim Form

Am I covered while I am traveling abroad?

There is no network to access your FAES medical and prescription drug plan outside of the US. If you

have a medical emergency and are outside of the US – here are your care options:

1. Utilizing your FAES medical and prescription drug coverage while outside of the US: You

are only covered in a true emergency situation. The FAES medical and prescription plan only

covers emergency care outside of the US. To help define what constitutes emergency care, please

see below:

An accidental injury, or the sudden onset of an illness where the acute symptoms are of

sufficient severity (including severe pain) so that a prudent layperson, who possesses an

average knowledge of health and medicine, could reasonably expect the absence of

immediate medical attention to result in:

  • Placing the covered individual’s life (or with respect to a pregnant woman, the
  • health of the woman or her unborn child) in serious jeopardy, or
  • Causing other serious medical consequences, or
  • Causing serious impairment to bodily functions, or
  • Causing serious dysfunction of any bodily organ or part.

Please note that if you have an emergency and need to seek care, you will have to pay the

costs upfront out-of-pocket. You will then submit for reimbursement and will need to

provide supporting documentation. You are responsible for all out-of-network

deductibles, copays, and coinsurance. It is highly recommended before you leave the

facility to get all documentation with details surrounding procedures, treatments, codes,

and proof of payments.

2. While in the country of your home residence: You need to evaluate your access to care options

as a resident of your home country.

3. COVID Exposure, Symptoms, & Testing for Travel

  1. Emergency: If your COVID symptoms become severe enough to be defined as an emergency and meet the parameters listed above, please access emergency care.
  2. Local Care: To verify COVID care within your home country, please consult local COVID care guidelines and access to care.
  3. Expatriate Support: Subscribers can consult with the US Embassy or Consulate in the Country they are visiting to determine testing sites; If the person is a citizen of the Country they are visiting they can seek out local testing options for citizens.
  4. Travel Purposes: Your FAES medical and prescription drug plan does not cover testing for travel purposes.
My NIH Fellowship is being renewed for another year. What do I need to do to make sure my health insurance plan doesn’t stop?

Please provide FAES with the NIH Fellowship Activation Form to renew your health insurance. This can be obtained from your Administrative Officer. FAES requires pages 1, 2 and 3 of the 6 pages of the NIH Fellowship Activation Form. The form must be signed by your sponsor on page 1. The Fellow will need to sign page 1 and 3.

I am leaving the NIH, what are my options?

All Fellows must provide a Fellowship Termination Notification to FAES when leaving the NIH or transitioning to a full-time employment position (FTE) with NIH. The form may be faxed to 301-480-3585 or emailed to

Our continuation of coverage administrator, BRI will send follow-up information on how to continue health insurance coverage.

What are my continuation of coverage benefits?

When any covered member loses health insurance coverage based on a termination of employment or the occurrence of other qualifying events, the member will be eligible to elect continuation of coverage. Once your termination of health insurance coverage is processed you will receive a continuation of coverage packet in the mail from our administrator, BRI. You will have 60 days to elect for continuation of coverage. Once elected, your coverage is retroactive to the date you lost coverage. There will be no lapse in coverage. Please contact a FAES insurance representative for additional information on pricing regarding continuation of coverage.

Will my spouse and/or dependents receive a health insurance card?

All covered plan participants will receive their own insurance card with their name listed.

What if I need to see a doctor before I get my insurance card?

Please check with a FAES insurance representative if a temporary card is available. Cards are mailed within 7-14 business days of the processing of your enrollment.

How do I obtain the insurance plan documents?
Plan documents are available upon request. Please contact a FAES insurance representative.
What can I do if I lost my member ID card?

If you lost your member ID card, you can view a PDF on or on the myTrustmarkBenefits phone app.

I never received my member ID card, what should I do?

Please contact FAES Insurance via email or phone and we can assist with providing a PDF of your card.

Are domestic partners eligible to be covered under the plan?

Domestic partners are not eligible. Eligible dependents are spouse or dependent children. FAES requires proof of relationship for dependents. For a spouse, we require a marriage certificate. For dependent children, we require a birth certificate, legal adoption paperwork or legal dependent status documentation.

Can I terminate my plan at any time?

Subscribers covered under the plan can only terminate at Open Enrollment (usually in September) unless they have a qualifying event. A qualifying event to terminate insurance outside of Open Enrollment would be marriage or newly obtained coverage elsewhere. Fellows have 30 days to notify FAES of this qualifying event to terminate coverage. The renewal of your fellowship does not count as a qualifying event to terminate coverage.

Are dental and vision covered under my plan?

Yes, FAES plan participants have dental and vision coverage through MetLife.

How do I find a dental and vision provider?

Our dental and vision plan is through MetLife. You can visit and choose our plan (Dental PDP Plus and Vision PPO) to find an in-network provider.

Will I receive a MetLife Dental and Vision card?

No, you will not receive a separate MetLife Dental and Vision card. The MetLife Dental and Vision group number and contact information will be on the back of your Trustmark member ID card.  

Are telemedicine visits covered?

Yes, below is the in-network and out-of-network coverage. Please consult with your provider if they are capable of telemedicine visits.

In-network telemedicine visits:

  • Primary Care Provider: $15 Copayment
  • Specialist: $25 Copayment

Out-of-network telemedicine visits:

  • Deductible then 30%


What is Talkspace?

Talkspace is an online therapy service that connects users to a dedicated, licensed therapist in their state of residence via private messaging or live video. Users can regularly message their dedicated therapist via text, voice, or video as life happens - anywhere, anytime. Therapists engage daily, 5 days per week. Founded with the mission to eliminate the stigma associated with mental health and make therapy available to all, Talkspace has a network of thousands of credentialed clinicians and has been used by more than one million people. Talkspace should not be considered for meeting requirements for employment, school enrollment, disability, or legal documentation.

Is the Talkspace service secure?

Yes. On the Talkspace platform, privacy and safety are always the first consideration. Talkspace deploys a variety of techniques to ensure that you and your data are always kept safe and confidential, and Talkspace’s technology is fully compliant with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). All data is encrypted on the servers, and all communication between our software and the servers is encrypted. The Talkspace app requires you to enter your password and allows you to create a unique passcode for extra security. If you have a device that supports fingerprint authentication, Talkspace also has a feature that recognizes your fingerprint.

Is Talkspace confidential?

Yes. Talkspace will not share your information with your organization. In order to protect confidentiality according to HIPAA, Talkspace require all users to create a unique nickname during the registration process, which is only shared with their therapists. You can determine whether you want your therapist to call you by your first name or nickname during therapy. While Talkspace will not share your information with your organization, they do require every user to submit emergency contact information, which is only accessed according to safety and reporting mandates.

Who is eligible to use Talkspace?

Talkspace Therapy is available to Foundation for Advanced Education in the Sciences plan participants and their dependents, ages 13+, and Talkspace Psychiatry is available for ages 18+. The platform requires users to indicate their age and will provide an automated message and alternative resources if the user is ineligible. Talkspace should not be considered for meeting requirements for employment, school enrollment, disability, or legal documentation.

Can I continue to use Talkspace after my pre-paid services have ended?

Yes. With a Talkspace self-pay plan, you can continue your relationship with your therapist after your benefit ends. Please contact to learn more about our subscription plans, discounts and financial aid.

Can I register for my Talkspace benefit using the Talkspace app?

No. In order to access Talkspace, you must complete registration at After completing registration and creating an account, you can download and use the Talkspace app for ongoing therapy engagement.

How do I register for Talkspace?

Register anytime. There is no open enrollment period for Talkspace. Sign up whenever you need support. When you are ready, visit

  • To register for therapy: Simply click “Get Started” and enter “FAES” when prompted for your organization name.
  • To register for psychiatry: Select the “sign up for psychiatry here” link on, and when prompted for a keyword, enter “FAESpsych.”
What is the difference between therapy and psychiatry?

Therapists work with you to discuss personal challenges and devise a treatment plan via “talk therapy.” They are not able to prescribe medication. Psychiatrists and nurse practitioners are licensed medical providers who specialize in mental health treatment and provide personalized medication management. You may choose to do just therapy, just psychiatry, or both treatments with Talkspace.

What services are offered?

Talkspace offers therapy and psychiatry services. Please see the Talkspace overview.

Additional questions and answers

What is the No Surprises Act?

In December 2020, Congress signed the Consolidated Appropriations Act (CAA) into law. One section of the new law, referred to as the No Surprises Act, contains new requirements for cost transparency and provides protections for consumers against surprise medical billing. The changes you will see in response to the No Surprises Act are:

  • ID Cards will include benefit information for Office Visit Copays, Specialist Copays, Emergency Room Copays, Medical Deductibles Individual & Family and Maximum Out of Pocket Limits Individual & Family
  • Surprise Billing – Plan participants are protected from surprise bills from emergency or non-emergency situations where the participant could not choose an in-network provider. Participants are only responsible for in-network cost-sharing amounts and out-of-network providers cannot balance bill members for any amount exceeding the in-network allowed charges.
  • Price Comparison Tool – You will have access to an online tool to compare prices between providers and facilities when making decisions on services beginning January 1, 2023
  • Continuity of Care – Insurance carriers will notify members when a provider or facility leaves the network and they will provide transitional coverage to ensure continuity of care for members
  • Advanced Explanation of Benefits (this is not in place yet because final regulations are pending) – These Advanced EOB’s will require providers to provide a good faith estimate for the cost of services for plan participants, and send the estimate to the insurance company
  • Independent Dispute Resolution – If a provider disputes the amount that the insurance carrier pays, there is now an Independent Review Process that can be started to coordinate negotiations between the provider and the insurance carrier. This is in place to eliminate Surprise bills for members
  • Machine Readable Files – Beginning July 1, 2022 medical in-network provider negotiated rates and historical out-of-network allowed amounts must be posted and available online. These files must be updated monthly. Access these Machine Readable Files with this link and then select Aetna Signature Administrators. 
  • Pharmacy Benefit and Drug Cost Reporting (currently delayed until December 31, 2022 and pending further guidance) – Pharmacy Benefit Managers must provide reporting on drugs in a number of categories and includes cost and rebate information for that medication
How do I access Machine Readable Files?

Machine readable files related to the FAES Trustmark Insurance Plan are available online. Please open this link to the Healthcare Bluebook Home Page, and then select Aetna Signature Administrators.

Additional questions

If you didn’t find the answers to your questions here, please contact an FAES insurance representative:

Hours: 9:00 am - 4:00 pm, Monday - Friday
Phone: 301.496.8063
Secure Fax: 301.480.3585